MLK was a Radical

MLK

PC: Underwood Archives/UIG/REX/Shutterstock

By Dr. Cornel West, for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., originally posted in The Guardian

The major threat of Martin Luther King Jr to us is a spiritual and moral one. King’s courageous and compassionate example shatters the dominant neoliberal soul-craft of smartness, money and bombs. His grand fight against poverty, militarism, materialism and racism undercuts the superficial lip service and pretentious posturing of so-called progressives as well as the candid contempt and proud prejudices of genuine reactionaries. King was neither perfect nor pure in his prophetic witness – but he was the real thing in sharp contrast to the market-driven semblances and simulacra of our day. Continue reading

Hospitality as the Ground for Good

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Dough rising – it’s a braided bread night Credit: Mark Bonica (link below)

By Jayme R. Reaves. From Geez 56: Entertaining Angels.

When someone says “hospitality,” what comes to mind?

Offering a cup of coffee or tea, a hot meal, a bed for the night – these are the usual answers. When we dig deeper, there’s usually an emphasis on welcome, creating a space where people feel at home, a warmth, a commitment to the other’s wellbeing.

In English, the Latin roots for the word hospitality connote two different ideas. First, the root hostis implies both guest and host, indicating a fluidity of motion between the two, a reciprocity or exchange that is expected: “I do this for you because you did this for me.” In the ancient worlds that shaped our religious traditions, the common practice was to treat guests with respect for two main reasons. Either it was an act of diplomacy as you may be a traveler in their land one day, or because there was an understanding that a guest could have been a powerful being – a god – in disguise, testing the righteous. Therefore, welcoming a guest became a sacred ritual because you just never really know who this guest sitting at your table really is or what they may be able to do for you later. Continue reading

Submit Stories and Reflections!

DODNew Year’s Greetings!

The Arts and Education Committee of the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition is assembling a new resource on the topic of reparations and repair. It will contain biblical and theological reflections as well as stories about how people have practiced reparative justice on the ground. Our intended audience is Anabaptist congregations, but our past resources (see here) have been used far and wide and are not limited to church folks! Continue reading

An Alternative Tour

51429161_10218004177755475_3993712457292972032_nBy Tommy Airey

“The time has come, God knows, for us to examine ourselves, but we can only do this if we are willing to free ourselves of the myth of America and try to find out what is really happening here.”—James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name (1961)

“…and a little child shall lead them.”—Isaiah 11:6b

Warning: this essay contains graphic language that may be unsuitable for some adults.

On this date, exactly a year ago, Lindsay and I found ourselves on ancient Chumash land, now called “the central coast of California.” We took the shuttle up to Hearst Castle, the 40,000 acre “ranch” built for newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and his wife, five sons and mistress. Early in the tour, our six-year-old nephew creatively resisted his boredom by making a game of how many nude statues he could find along the way. He was particularly fond of the penises, which made him giggle uncontrollably. Continue reading

The Moral and the Ethical

CornelFrom Cornel West, in an interview last month with Salon.

Part of [the global struggle for human rights] is realizing that we are in a moment now where people’s conception of community has been degenerated into a conception of constituency. It’s that people’s conception of a cause has been degenerated into a conception of a brand. People’s conception of the public has been degenerated into PR strategies. This creates a spiritually and morally impoverished culture. And so in order to have some notion of human rights that is actually full of content and substance, one has to have some primacy of the moral and the ethical. The calculations cannot be just the Machiavellian. So much of the culture just comes down to strategies and questions such as, “How am I going to make more money? How am I going to get something out of somebody?” Continue reading

Stigma

Blasey FordAn excerpt from The Sun Magazine‘s January 2019 interview with Dr. Anne Hallward.

Professor Blasey Ford demonstrated remarkable bravery in telling her story and responding to questions in front of a phalanx of men who were hostile to her. Her experience of not being believed, of being threatened for daring to speak up, was all too familiar.

I do think her willingness to make herself vulnerable was in the service of women everywhere. Her testimony is a powerful example of how telling our stories is a form of nonviolent social change. Though the outcome of the hearing was painful, I believe it will bear fruit in the long run, raising awareness of sexual assault and helping people understand what makes it hard to bring up. Professor Blasey Ford was highly credible, and yet many senators had already chosen not to believe her. Part of how the powerful maintain the status quo is by rendering certain voices noncredible. In our culture women’s voices are often not taken seriously. We demand proof that is impossible to obtain, or we critique them as shrill or strident. In Professor Blasey Ford’s case, she suffered death threats in an attempt to silence her. Continue reading